Akşener deems alleged secret talks with CHP 'declaration of war'

İYİ Party leader Meral Akşener has acknowledged a "declaration of war" following the resignation of her party's Istanbul city council head, İbrahim Özkan, following his alleged clandestine talks with the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP).

During a visit to her party's provincial headquarters in western Uşak on Dec. 19, Akşener addressed a WhatsApp screenshot purportedly revealing discussions where Özkan called for the resignation of a party councilman in Çanakkale and promised a meeting with CHP executives.

She also pointed to Özkan's alleged "bargaining" with Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu about the İYİ Party's election strategy in Istanbul, dismissing it as an "institutional operation against our party" and distancing herself from any knowledge of such talks.

Özkan denied these accusations on social media platform X and in statements to private broadcaster TV100 on Dec. 18, the day after his resignation, asserting that the party leadership was aware of his meeting with the Istanbul mayor.

Özkan's exit, along with five other municipal council members, followed the party's contentious decision to field its own candidates in all constituencies for the upcoming March mayoral election, severing long-standing ties with the CHP.

The fallout from the party's solo run bid has been palpable, marked by a wave of resignations and dismissals among lawmakers and key figures within the administration.

Akşener accused "those responsible for the internal turmoil" of meddling in the affairs of another party. "As of now, I accept this as a declaration of war. I'm in, go ahead," she declared.

In her subsequent public address, the İYİ Party leader aimed her criticism not only at İmamoğlu but also at Ankara Mayor Mansur...

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